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Possibilities of pottery in Gyeonggi cities

International CeraMIX Biennale offers hands-on programs in Icheon, Yeoju and Gwangju

Among many biennales that come every autumn, it has been a while since Gyeonggi International CeraMIX Biennale established itself as a popular destination for families. It successfully kicked off last month in Icheon, Yeoju and Gwangju, three cities in Gyeonggi Province, as usual.

Marking the 10th year since its establishment, the biennale polished itself with brand new facilities and experience programs. This time, it focuses on pushing boundaries of ceramics and fusing it with other genres of art, and has the main slogan “Journey from Fire.”

“We have prepared many hands-on programs that allow visitors to not only look around but to actually participate in the creation of new and original things,” said Kang Woo-hyon, chairman of the GIC Biennale’s International Committee.

Icheon Cerapia decked with ceramics from top to toe

Icheon Cerapia opened last month in the place of the former Icheon World Ceramic Center which originally hosted the biennale. As the name, a compound word for “ceramics” and “utopia” suggests, the venue is made of practically nothing but ceramics from top to toe including the exhibition halls, the playground, the restrooms and even the lake.

The organizers bought 1.2 billion won ($1.8 million) worth of recycled B-class ceramics which were unsellable due to defects and ceramic shards from potters all over the country and used the materials to add sparkle to the brand new place. 
A mother and a boy try out making glassware at Icheon Cerapia. (CeraMIX Biennale)
A mother and a boy try out making glassware at Icheon Cerapia. (CeraMIX Biennale)

The decoration process is still ongoing as the 5-meter-tall and 17-meter-wide faade, a leftover of the former center, standing next to Cerapia’s new CeraMix Creativity Center is left empty for visitors to adorn until Oct. 23. Participants can leave messages or drawings on small ceramic tiles and stick it to the empty wall. After some final touches by professionals, the completed wall will be open to the public the day after the biennale is over.

Meanwhile the center offers almost everything one could be looking for in terms of a wider definition of ceramics, including glassware making programs. Visitors can watch professionals magically turn burning hot glass at hotter than 1,200 degrees Celsius into beautiful plates and cups, and try out something on their own as well.

Clay triathlon at Yeoju Dojasesang

In Yeoju Dojasesang, the nation’s best known shopping spot for ceramics, everything is about clay during the biennale period. It is hosting a clay building competition and ceramic triathlon composed of a clay throwing competition, a clay transporting contest and clay dart-like game.

The clay building competition takes place In Doyerang, a traditional pavilion in Dojasesang. The family which builds the tallest tower of 150 kg clay wins. Families of more than three people can enter the contest every weekend if they have a ticket for the biennale or have purchased an item at Dojasesang. The first place winner earns the prize money of 500,000 won. 
A boy focuses on building a clay tower at Yeoju Dojasesang.
A boy focuses on building a clay tower at Yeoju Dojasesang.

Gwangju packed with hands-on programs

Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum in Gwangju normally has the most visitors as it is the closest from Seoul. To satisfy visitors, the museum offers the most fun and educational experience programs.

Among them, the “Print Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks” is especially popular this year. Visitors can learn about the Korean traditional inlay printing techniques and make pottery decorated with hangeul, the Korean alphabet, by stamping the prints on clay plates, covering it with white soil and scraping out the letters.

Hands-on experience programs of rubbing stone inscription, kneading clay dough with feet or making bow and arrows can also be enjoyed at the museum.

Gyeonggi International CeraMIX Biennale runs through Nov. 22 in Icheon Cerapia, Yeoju Dojasesang and Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum in Gwangju, all in Gyeonggi Province.

Admission for all three venues ranges from 4,000 won to 8,000 won. Single venue tickets vary according to venue. For more information, visit

By Park Min-young  (